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  • Lori Culler

    The Secret to Improving Farm Employee Performance

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on April 10, 2014

    Do you believe a great coach can lead a team better than a not-so-great coach? Great coaches know how to get the most out of their team. Take for instance this year's college basketball tournament. In the national championship game, an eighth-ranked team played a seventh-ranked team. You know what they had in common? You guessed it, great coaching! They may have not had the best players throughout the season, but when it came to reaching their desired goal, their coaches got the most out…

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  • Lori Culler

    What's The Plan for Planting Season?

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on March 28, 2014

    A college basketball team would not reach the Final Four or a National Championship game without pre-planning for each game along the way.  Players need to know exactly what their role is, what position they're playing, and who they're up against. The same goes for farmers at key times of the year, such as planting season. With no preparation any team would be lucky to win a game the entire season. Are you ready to win at your game?  Too often farmers take the upcoming…

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  • Lori Culler

    Are You Short on Farm Labor?

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on February 10, 2014

    It's human nature - when there is a problem we don't want to deal with, we avoid it like the plague. For me, that is year-end closing and getting my tax documents together. If I could just ignore getting them I would, but apparently there is some major deadline we are all held accountable to. For a farm, that one thing we typically dread to deal with more than anything is labor.  We don't like it, we are unsure of how to find it and we certainly don't like to manage…

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  • Lori Culler

    Parting Ways With A Family Employee

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on December 30, 2013

    By now you have all heard me preach to the choir about getting rid of employees that do not fit into the organization. I was speaking at an Ag conference recently and was going on about making a move on those employees you have been reluctantly keeping for years. At the end, one of the audience members asked, "What do you do when that employee you want to let go is family"? My answer greatly depends on whether or not that family member also shares some type of ownership either in…

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  • Lori Culler

    Farm Team Outlook 2014

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on December 18, 2013

    It is a reoccurring event: you finish up harvest, take a week to breathe and then realize you need to start planning for the next season. Once January comes around the pressure is already starting to build; are you ready? Most of us are trying to wrap up year-end financials and make equipment and upgrade decisions. The human capital planning often gets put on the back burner only to come up again a month prior to plant. Take it from me: with the time it takes to plan, find, screen, hire and…

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  • Lori Culler

    Focus on Family During Holidays

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on November 25, 2013

    I will never forget when I was considering leaving my corporate job to come join the farm. When I did, my sister-in-law desperately asked me to resist joining in farm talk at family gatherings. I simply laughed at her request. After all, I am very social and love hanging out with my sister-in-law. Sadly, it only took about a year of being part of the family business to realize I had done exactly what she asked me not to do. I was so engrossed in what was going on with the farm it was as if I…

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  • Lori Culler

    Farm Office D├ęcor Linked to Performance

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on November 15, 2013

    Walking into my client's farm office I was beyond impressed with the home-built desks and walls covered in old barn wood. It was the perfect blend of professionalism with a showcase of their roots. I am in the process of looking for new office space for our firm and was curious: could an office set-up help or hurt your business? What I discovered that that there is scientific proof everything from wall color, lighting, ventilation to desks and décor can significantly impact…

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  • Lori Culler

    The Door Is Open, No One's Coming In

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on November 11, 2013

    In grade school the principal always said you could come in to talk; as they say, her "door is always open." In all my years I never stepped into her office to simply converse. After all, that is where the kids go when they don't behave and she was slightly intimidating. If she needed to talk to me, I figured she would track me down. What's interesting is that concept doesn't vary much from the work place. Most managers brag they have an "open door policy." I…

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  • Lori Culler

    When Personal Problems Bleed Into Work

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on October 29, 2013

    Anyone who runs a business has first-hand experience when an employee's personal problems become work problems. Unfortunately, it's human nature. When life isn't going so well in their personal life it tends to affect them whether they are on or off the clock. Whether it's marital problems, kids, health issues or loss of a family member, those situations often affect performance. You most likely feel bad for your employee going through one of life's bumps in the road but…

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  • Lori Culler

    Paving the Path for Your Career

    Managing Talent

     by Lori Culler
     on October 9, 2013

    Young farmers, do you want a job or a career? Getting a job is the easy part. It's what comes next you need to think about. Young people coming into the job market have it easy, landing gigs quickly.  I just spoke to a soon-to-be graduate that had 10 interviews during career fair week.  It can feel pretty darn good when you are in such high demand, but before you go celebrating with your friends out by the barn, I encourage you to take a step back and analyze your…

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